You know how your cell phone buzzes and you get that little excited feeling? You know it’s buzzing because someone is thinking about you. They mentioned you in a tweet or sent you a text. Or maybe it’s an email or comment on your Facebook status.
This evening my phone buzzed while I was talking to my mom. I ignored it since I didn’t want to be rude and promptly forgot about it until I got upstairs to my bedroom. Then I saw that magical red light blinking, reminding me of that little feeling. Who was it? So I unlocked the keypad and saw the message:
Are you kidding me??? What a let down!
And how sad is it that I need my BlackBerry to remind me of that every single week?
For those of you who don’t know, “mtx” is short-hand for methotrexate. It’s the “gold standard” drug given to almost every RA patient, as well as those folks living with Lupus. Every Wednesday night I give myself an injection of .6mL (15mg) of the stuff in my stomach. The shot itself is nothing. I use a tiny insulin needle and it only really hurts if I’m not paying attention and don’t insert it at an angle. The shot is not what I dread. It’s what those of us on Twitter call the “mtx hangover”.
If you look up the clinical list of methotrexate side effects, you’ll find quite a list:
Acne; chills and fever; dizziness; flushing; general body discomfort; hair loss; headache; infertility; irregular periods; itching; loss of appetite; lowered resistance to infection; miscarriage; nausea; sensitivity to sunlight; sore throat; speech impairment; stomach pain; swelling of the breast; unusual tiredness; vaginal discharge; vomiting
Quite honestly, that list means very little to me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been on it for so long and I know the side effects on a visceral level. So instead of leaving the clinical description of it to suffice, I want to share my personal experience with it.
Every Thursday morning I wake up with a massive headache. I usually spend the day curled up on the couch because moving makes the nausea worse. The “general body discomfort” on the list is the worst part. There’s a fatigue and achiness throughout my body that is impossible to describe, much less overcome.
Throughout the rest of the week chills and fever come out of nowhere, along with dizziness and fatigue, seriously slowing me down at the most inconvenient times. Nausea and stomach pain keep me from eating very much at a time or enjoying any of the foods I used to love. Every morning there are clumps of hair in the shower drain and my comb. I spend way too much time and money on products to fight the acne that no 30 year old is supposed to deal with.
All of this is why my brain has a war with itself every week. I hate dealing with the hangover while trying to get through school with my daughters on Thursday mornings. I hate not knowing if I’ll be able to keep my lunch down on any given day during the week or if dizziness is going to let me stand long enough to do a load of dishes.
Add these things to the fact that it has yet to make any difference in my symptoms and you can understand why I have to convince myself to continue it every week. To be honest, I’m not really sure why I do. I guess it’s just that lingering hope that this will be the shot that finally provides some relief.
Or maybe it’s that fighter in me that refuses to give up, no matter what.
This article is intended to convey general educational information and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.